Reviewed: December 12th, 2022
Released: November 26th, 2019
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Ilsa Wlich, a striking, mysterious woman of indeterminate age and steeped in lore, ancient and new, arrives one fateful evening in beautiful, but remote and insular Reimersberg at the end of the Adventurer’s Road.
The town, deep in the mountains and wolf-inhabited forests in the Valley of the Witches, is seldom reached by outsiders and not particularly welcoming to them. Proud of their traditions, the people frown upon change and those who bring it.
Ilsa saves the life of a sick boy, Karl, but is suspicious of the cause of his sickness; a fact she keeps from the townsfolk for fear of causing panic. She earns the boy’s undying love, but also the enmity of some Town Elders, in particular the incompetent doctor and the mayor, Meister. Both feel as threatened by Ilsa as she feels wary of them.
Weary in mind and body from years of travelling, and still charmed by the town, Ilsa asks to settle in Reimersberg. Her presence there awakens a long-hidden darkness. She finds herself, together with Karl, treading paths far more mysterious, bloody and perilous than anything the Adventurer’s Road could conjure if they are to survive.
Helen’s thoughts: 5/5
An excellent tale set in eighteen century Bavaria, reminiscent of Grimms’ fairytales with the rural German setting and the moral for all to learn.
Ilsa is weary of her travelling life and, arriving in the beautiful town of Reimersberg, she hopes finally to set down roots and rest. But strangers are not welcome and even though she saves a boy’s life, there is a danger stirring in the town which won’t rest until she is gone.
Palin has created an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust that Ilsa had no hope of overcoming, even in the beautiful town at the end of the Adventurer’s Road. A lovely blend of mystery, mysticism and the darker side of human nature combines to provide a haunting tale of betrayal and revenge.
Very easy to read and very difficult to put down. You get drawn into the angst and strife of the towns folk and see how easy it is to be led down the wrong path. Palin creates some memorable characters, even if they are more relatable by their profession, be it the doctor, the mayor or the priest!
Palin has a lovely turn of phrase which momentarily lightens the story, makes you smile and then descends back down into the consequences of the villagers actions. If you love riddles, mysteries, and wonderful characters, then look no further than The Half-Torn Page.
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